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DL | C5 | C4 Where you are: HOME > Printed Envelopes > Business Reply Explained

Custom-printed Business Reply Envelopes A quick HD video guide on how to order BUSINESS REPLY Envelopes from Trade Printing UK
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Business Reply Envelopes EXPLAINED — An Overview and explanation of how to use UK printed Business Reply envelopes from Royal Mail

Printed Business Reply Envelopes which in the UK are also called 'Prepaid Envelopes' by the Royal Mail, are used to encourage customers to reply to you, or your company, without your customer having to pay the Royal Mail's postage cost at their end. You'll pay it for them. Business Reply envelopes are the professional way to do it and can be printed by Trade Printing UK (after you first apply for a licence from Royal Mail — see below) with your company's details and company logo, using Royal Mail's layout guidelines (we'll use our superb, professional templates to create that for you!). Trade Printing UK are probably the leading business reply envelope printing specialist company (with Business Reply Envelopes printed FROM £45 plus FREE DELIVERY) within the UK's envelope printer industry, for these types of Royal Mail response services printed envelopes.

PPI Postage Paid Impressions Printed Envelopes
I want printed Business Reply Envelopes now — how do I get them in the UK?

Firstly you'll need to apply to the Royal Mail to purchase either a 'Business Reply Standard' or 'Business Reply Plus' alpha licence number (e.g. AAAA-BBBB-CCCC). You only pay for the actual post that is sent back to you rather than buying all the postage costs up-front. You pay Royal Mail for that on a MONTHLY basis. So Business Reply envelopes really mean you're only paying for what you receive back from your customers.

How to CONTACT the Royal Mail Business Reply and Response Services licensing team via their Barnsley office

This is how to CONTACT the Royal Mail licensing team in their Barnsley office by telephoning: 08457 950950 – then Press '1', then hold, then Press '3', then Press '2' – this will get you speaking to an actual person! (Lines are open 8am to 5pm — Monday to Friday.) You can also E-mail their Business Reply services licensing team with this E-mail address HERE

1st & 2nd Class Indicia for Business Reply Envelope products by Royal MailThere is also an annual licence fee that has to be paid up front to Royal Mail which is currently £99 + VAT per year to get your licence in the first place, plus £55 + VAT for any additional licences if you have other (over 10) branches. This is a grouped licence, so you get a bundle Freepost Standard / Business Reply Standard licence or Freepost Plus / Business Reply Plus licence together. Just pick either the 'Standard' or 'Plus' licence bundle.

After you have your licence from the Royal Mail, you then pay a price per single response [i.e. you pay Royal Mail directly – on a monthly account basis – for EACH returned pre-paid envelope a customer sends you back] for all items up to 100g (e.g. under the PLUS licences for DL + C5 "Letter" sizes – 1st Class: 51.5p; 2nd Class: 37.5p; under the STANDARD licences for DL + C5 "Letter" sizes – 1st Class: 58p; 2nd Class: 44p; "Large Letter" such as C4 and above are more expensive [up to 100g weight] e.g. C4 1st class: 79p; 2nd Class: 66p because they are hand sorted by humans) and of course this depends whether you use a Royal Mail 1st Class or 2nd Class Indicia mark on your custom prepaid envelopes.

Once you have that licence number, you can place your order with Trade Printing UK to actually print the DL envelopes (we also do C5 and C4 size variants) professionally for you. Don't forget you can include your company logo for free (your address block, the 1st/2nd class indicia in the top right, and the Licence number must ALWAYS BE PRINTED IN BLACK INK so that is the minimum colour you can print your logo as well.

We can add your Full Colour Logo for FREE to the above too.

We would then draw up your professional artwork with our own professional templates designed specifically for Royal Mail's products, then send you back a high-resolution PDF which you subsequently send on to the Royal Mail response services account team in Barnsley [they handle the whole of the UK] to approve. There's always a bit of hassle with that bit, but we can guide you through this.

Comparison between Business Reply Standard and Business Reply Plus Envelope artworkWhat's the DIFFERENCE between Business REPLY STANDARD envelopes and Business REPLY PLUS?

The Business Reply Plus envelope type is the most popular variant as it will give your company an extra postage cost discount (currently 6.5p OFF per item) over the 'Business Reply Standard' envelope type, but they can only weigh up to a maximum weight of 100g and must be pre-printed with the 'Plus' artwork and indicia barcode. The 'Plus' licence can only be used with DL and C5 sizes; C4 size envelopes are excluded as they're hand-sorted - you must use a Standard licence with the latter [see below].

Business Reply Standard envelopes are the less popular of the two however they give the most scope to UK businesses for envelope size [i.e. it allows for C4 envelopes unlike Business Reply Plus which doesn't] and 1st or 2nd Class services etc. We would assume that is because Royal Mail can't offer the 6.5p discount with the Plus licence because it would be classed in their new 'Large Letter' category that was introduced back in April 2013 and can't afford to give you the discount in that price band.

Royal Mail's latest 2019 Response Services Rate Card is HERE

Do Business Reply Envelopes need a stamp?

Not in the traditional sense, but they do use the Freepost Envelopes' 1st Class or 2nd Class Indicia in the top right of the artwork. See image above. If you're a charity it's best NOT to ask your patrons donating to you to stick a stamp over the indicia as it will cost your charity extra money by a fine from the Royal Mail. So in the end it'll cost you money.

Why choose a BUSINESS REPLY envelope over a FREEPOST Envelope?

Good question! The straight answer is, there is NO difference! NONE whatsover. THEY DO THE SAME THING! Seriously. It's all down to personal choice.

Freepost is seen as LESS formal [yet exhibits the same features of a Business Reply licence number and 1st or 2nd class indicia, and are delivered in the same time] and more consumer-focused.

Business Reply is seen as a MORE formal and professional look. However, again, there is NO difference in the actual service or what it actually does. We wish they'd just standardise everything into one product, but there you go.

Out-dated Business Reply Service from Royal MailBut I have an old-style alphanumeric prepaid envelope licence — can I use that?

The old Response Service Licence No. type (e.g. LON123) is now considered obsolete and you'll probably need to contact your Royal Mail Account Manager [see below] to update it to a current 'Business Reply Standard' or 'Plus' licence.

To CONTACT the Royal Mail licensing team in their Barnsley office

To CONTACT the Royal Mail licensing team in their Barnsley office (as of Oct 2018) Phone: 08457 950950 - then Press '1', then hold, then Press '3', then Press '2' - this will get you speaking to an actual person! (Lines are open 8am to 5pm – Monday to Friday.) Email the Royal Mail response services licensing team in Barnsley: HERE

Royal Mail's own on-line Artwork Generator is massively flawed. Use our Templates instead!

When you apply for your Business Reply licence you will see that the Royal Mail have their own Artwork Generator on their website, however this has contained a few very serious programming flaws for a long time (which we've pointed out to them on numerous occasions to no avail and to date their web developers have NOT fixed yet) in that the artwork produced is low-resolution (plus a colour problem) and NOT suitable for commercial printing. This is why we've developed our own professional artwork Envelope templates to give perfect control of your envelope's professional artwork to Royal Mail guidelines and standards.

We've produced thousands of these successfully for our clients over the years.

The "Royal Mail Artwork Generator" gives you the option to add your company logo to the professional artwork but the problem there is that also doesn't handle any other graphic formats but GIF (which is ridiculous as that's only intended for website use), Jpeg, or Tiff (in a very limited way). Files have to be limited to 500k as well.

The Royal Mail Artwork Generator takes no account whatsoever for high-end professional formats such as vector EPS files, nor does it understand the difference between Grayscale, RGB, CMYK, Pantone, spot colour inks or any other important printing industry colour gamuts; a massive fundamental flaw that Royal Mail has made no attempt to fix, nor understand the needs of commercial printing companies. It has frustrated us and others in the industry for a long time and basically, it's a complete mess and we're not backward about saying it!

Thus, Trade Printing UK will NOT accept any "Royal Mail Artwork Generator" PDF files as they are wholly unacceptable for commercial UK envelope printing. We will create your professional envelope artwork for you.

Reponse Services Barcode updated 2014 artwork graphic stripAlready got a licence? You'll need the NEW 2014 "Response Services Barcode" added to your existing artwork.

As of April 2014, the Royal Mail introduced an additional font-based barcode to the licence plate area in the top left of envelopes, which must be added to your additional artwork (if you've got Business Reply envelopes before). You can supply it by entering the 12-digit licence numbering into their Response Services Artwork Generator and pick the "Response Services Barcode" only, remembering that DL and C5 are classed as "Letter" size, and C5 is classed as "Large Letter" size. Then choose either "EPS vector' or "PDF" format from the final radio button choice.

TradePrintingUK can add that for you. Just phone 028 9084 1234 or E-mail us today and we can update your existing prepaid envelope artwork for you.

What type of flap can I use? Self-Seal or Peel & Seal?

From an over-printing perspective, we normally produce your business reply envelopes via our now standard, premium 120gsm peel & seal product ranges (the highest quality in the UK print industr for this sector!) for quantities ranging from 250 - 5000; over this and you have the option to use our 90gsm self-seal envelope product on either the 'Business Reply Standard' or 'Business Reply Plus' licence formats.

SUMMARY CHECKLIST to buy printed Business Reply Envelopes:

Firstly, Apply to Royal Mail for one of their 'Business Reply Standard' or 'Business Reply Plus' prepaid Licence Numbers (can take a week or more sometimes!). Once Royal Mail have sent the new alpha Licence Number and your Address Block back to you, then come back to us and choose...

FREE Delivery, artwork, PDF proof

  • Which Size of Royal Mail Business Reply Envelope do you require?
    DL, C5 or C4?
  • Is it Royal Mail's 'Business Reply Standard' or 'Business Reply Plus' service you have the licence for?
  • "Plus" can only be used up to 100g weight.
  • Do you want 1st Class or 2nd Class indicia printed on your custom-printed
    Business Reply Envelope?
  • We will then create your envelope's professional PDF artwork, and E-mail you a PDF proof that you send back to their response services team in Barnsley
  • Once approved by them (we'll talk you through that potential nightmare via E-mail), you E-mail us back their sign-off. They're usually only interested in the content e.g. that your address block and licence number are correct though.

  • Then phone us on 028 9084 1234 with your payment details
    (we accept Credit or Debit Cards / BACS via Proforma Invoice if you wish).
  • We will then proceed to production. Turnaround for any of our Business Reply envelope products is normally just 5-6 working days after that. We ship FREE via Parcelforce.

How to CONTACT the Royal Mail Business Reply licensing team in their Barnsley office

To CONTACT the Royal Mail “Business Reply” licensing team in their Barnsley office phone: 08457 950950 — then Press '1', then hold, then Press '3', then Press '2' — this will get you speaking to an actual person! (Lines are open 8am to 5pm — Monday to Friday.) Or alternatively, just E-mail the Royal Mail response services licensing team in Barnsley: HERE

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